Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stelmach Should Reject Craig Chandler's Nomination

I am not happy with the Progressive Conservative Party nomination of Craig Chandler in Calgary Egmont. If you are Ed Stelmach, you only need to go to the Craig Chandler website and watch the video to see what kind of "candidate" you are dealing with.

Really listen to him and you have to be concerned about his intentions and attitudes and look at the record of what he says and what he has done.

I am glad the Premier is meeting with Mr. Chandler to discuss his intentions and to assess his ability to be a team player. The results of that meeting should be a foregone conclusion based on the Chandler website video. The Premier should refuse to sign this person’s nomination papers as an Alberta Progressive Conservative candidate.

In the website video Mr. Chandler says, “Do you think in a Caucus meeting I’m going to roll over?” He and columnist Paul Jackson of the Calgary Sun say Mr. Chandler will not “toe the party line.” Mr. Chandler himself makes the point that he believes he must represent “his constituents” and he…”won’t toe the party line and any of you think I will don’t know me very well.”

I admire an independent streak and have one myself, and that does not preclude one from being a team player. You don’t have to "toe the party line" in Caucus during what is often a rigorous debate. But you have to accept the ultimate and final decision of Caucus. That is when the MLAs in any government must "toe the party line" or else nothing will get done or even be finally decided.

If you disagree with a Caucus decision Mr. Chandler you have a few options. Suck it up and shut up. Quit or cross the floor. Speaking out against the party line or the party principles will likely see you quickly kicked out of Caucus. Don’t fool yourself, sir it happens. Just ask Dr. Oberg

The problem I have with Mr. Chandler is not that he is independent. He is also oppressive and dogmatic. He strikes me as a person who chooses not to see nuances on issues. Kind of like George Bush. If you are not for us, you are deemed to be against us. Can Mr. Chandler accept and reconcile differences of opinion in ways that seek effective solutions to complex governance problems?

He comes across as the kind of person who is often wrong but never in doubt. He has expectations that everyone else should adapt to his version of “reality and truth” because he sure isn’t going to “toe any party line.”

He doesn’t come across as being able to accept that he has blind spots. We all have blind spots and that is why we get better judgments and wiser decisions when our politicians listen and learn from a wide rage of perspectives. Does he have the right stuff to be effective in a representative democracy that is based on principles of being inclusive and valuing diversity? Those are core qualities of modern democratic political representation.

He makes a strong point of saying he represents his constituents before he owes any party or Caucus allegiances. That may be true but it is going to be interesting to see if he can be representative of all of his constituents, especially if they disagree with him. Given he has such a dogmatic attitude, ask yourself how well he will represent the concerns of his Gay constituent? I think it is a pretty sure bet Calgary Egmont has gay residents and they would be Mr. Chandler's "constituents" should he be a PC candidate and win in the next election.

Premier Stelmach, take a minute and read the Statement of Principles of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. Then make a personal leadership statement based on those principles and refuse to sign this gentleman’s nomination papers.
Mr. Harper has taken this leadership step on more than one occasion recently. You will get some heat but refusing this candidate is the proper thing to do under the circumstances.